#49 – Scammers

This has been one of those “good news, bad news” kind of days. 

Periodically I receive scam e-mails from supposedly divorced women in Japan or England asking me to help collect divorce settlements from their ex-husbands in the US.  The scam entails the duped lawyer collecting a certified check from the “defendant.” After the lawyer deposits the check in his bank account, he keeps a substantial sum for himself and sends his own check to the “client” in the amount of the much larger balance.  A few weeks later, however, the lawyer’s bank informs him that the certified check was fraudulent and that he’s responsible for making good the entire amount. 

Shortly before I went out this morning, I received one of those scam e-mails.  This one, from a Mrs. Hoshiko, added that her New Jersey lawyer had referred her to me.  Of course she didn’t identify the attorney. I told my part-time secretary Denise to e-mail the con artist my standard fraud response letter, which notifies the “divorcee” that I decline her request for representation and will prosecute her illegal activities to the fullest extent of the law.

Here’s where today’s good news enters the picture.  Denise failed to send out my fraud response letter; a lucky break since it turns out the e-mail I received was no scam.  I learned of its legitimacy through a voicemail I received this afternoon from Ed Greenspan, the divorce lawyer who (may) marry my sister Lisa next month. Ed said he’d told one of his clients, Myoki Hoshiko, to contact me for help in securing her divorce settlement.  

Now for the bad news. While Denise did not transmit my fraud response letter, she did accidentally send Mrs. Hoshiko something else: namely, a file titled “Fake Retainer Agreement.” It immediately precedes the fraud response letter in the same directory on my computer system.  I’d drafted the “Fake Retainer Agreement” solely for my own amusement, as a joke response to the scam e-mailers.  Obviously, I didn’t intend to send it to anyone, especially a valued client of my future brother-in-law! 

I shudder to think of Mrs. Hoshiko’s reaction to my mock contract, and her ensuing conversation with Ed.  Though I expect she’ll blanche at a number of the document’s outlandish provisions, I can easily guess which ones she’ll find most offensive … those in which the client a) acknowledges that the only account I maintain is at the local sperm bank and b) agrees that she’ll receive her portion of the settlement funds in a form other than cash, drawn from the “deposits” in my account.  

I suspect this comedy of errors isn’t what Ed had in mind when he closed his voicemail to me with: “I know you’ll treat her right, Richard.”  

Welcome to the family, Ed!


email scam

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